To mark the occasion of 100 years of Scouting in Harlan County, a banquet and reunion was held at Camp Blanton, in Watts Creek, on Saturday. Approximately 100 Scouts, family and friends gathered to enjoy memorabilia, music, dinner and speeches during the event.
To begin the evening Harlan Presbyterian Rev. Janice Stamper said in celebration of 100 years, “Let’s remember faithful Scouts before us who made this all possible.”
Eagle Scout and local attorney Sidney Douglass said Harlan County is a different place today than when Scouting first began 100 years ago. He said the railroad had just came to Harlan County and the coal industry was expanding in 1912.
“Early Scouts were some of Harlan’s pioneering families,” said Douglass. “It’s extraordinary that so soon after the Boy Scout organization was formed in 1910 a troop was chartered in Harlan County two years later.”
Sitting down to a catered dinner by Norma Mink of Sweet Creations, the guests were entertained by keynote speaker Albert “Hap” Cawood, of Dayton, Ohio. Cawood reminisced about his days as a Scout with Dr. Murph Green recalling what it was like to be young and have fun being a Cub and Boy Scout.
“I was fortunate to have lived in Harlan County, been a Boy Scout, and I’m happy to be here today to remember this special place whose history is deeper in us than it is in books,” said Cawood. “As a Scout we learned camping, hiking, how to treat snake bites…building shelters, pitching tents and navigating in the woods by compass. We did canoeing and learned how to start fires with flint and steel. The more we mastered those skills, we less we feared life. We learned to do things through the guidance of men, Scout Masters, friends of our fathers. Although they were adults they remembered what it was like to be young and have fun. We did community service and it made us feel more a part of our community. To top it off we had adventure. Scouts will always remember the mountains they climbed, the lakes they swam, the forests where they camped and the competitive games they played.”
Cawood said today there are more than 25 million Scouts in the world and nearly 3 million in the United States. He said many don’t have access to mountains, woods and lakes.
“Here in Harlan we were lucky and we still are,” said Cawood. “To have mountains all around is wonderful. To know your own force and quiet of nature you have to go into it and discover it. You have to sense it, respect it, know how to move in it, know how to be safe and survive in. You have to know how to be at home in it. That’s the experience and ability Scouting gave us to whatever degree we took advantage of it. We took some of those skills into many of the aspects of our daily lives.”
Ending his speech, Cawood praised Dr. Murph Green, who still volunteers his time to teach Boy Scout principals to the children of Harlan County.
“When I first got started in Scouting in about 1949 or early 1950, I didn’t realize Scouting had been in Harlan for the past 40 years,” said Green. “In 1952 I received my Eagle. Then not long after that we had five others who received their Eagle Scout recognition.Three of those Eagles became physicians, one became an art buyer for Disney World, one went on to become an newspaper editor and another became a minister. That group of Eagles made a pretty good record for themselves and I was proud to be one of them.”
Local resident and coal operator Darby Bennett presented framed photographs, he had taken of Harlan County, to Cawood and Green. Catrons Creek resident Bucky Jones was recognized for his contributions to Scouting and after 65 years he was presented an Honorary Eagle Scout pin by Master of Ceremonies Will Miller.
To end the event, Scout Master and local businessman David Howard said, “May we all do our duty to our nation and never tire of helping others.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com